ANTELOPE VALLEY – Parvo, a highly contagious and often deadly virus in dogs, is being diagnosed in concerning numbers in the Antelope Valley, Los Angeles County officials warn.
In the first four months of this year, 70 of the 162 parvo cases reported to the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health were in Lancaster and Palmdale alone. Half of the cases were detected in April, suggesting increasing risk.
The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control is reminding local pet owners that they can and should vaccinate their dogs to prevent them from contracting this severe and often deadly virus. Vaccination is the cornerstone of prevention.
The most common signs of canine parvovirus infection, commonly referred to as parvo, include fever, anorexia, lethargy, dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea, which may or may not be bloody.
If you see any of these signs, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Without treatment, this disease is often fatal. However, some dogs survive the disease if given appropriate and prompt treatment.
Keep puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs away from public areas and away from other unvaccinated dogs until they have finished their full series of vaccinations.
If you think your dog may have parvo, keep it away from other dogs. Do not share your dog’s bedding and toys with other dogs. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations on cleaning and disinfection to help stop the spread of parvo.
More on parvo
Canine parvovirus infection, commonly referred to as parvo, is caused by a virus capable of surviving in the environment for months or even years. Puppies are most likely to suffer severe disease and death, but any unvaccinated dog, of any age, can become infected with parvo.
Parvo is shed in all body fluids of infected dogs, and is extremely easy to spread via people (hands, feet), equipment or surfaces. This virus does not make people sick but can be fatal for dogs. The incubation period (time to development of clinical signs) is usually 4-14 days.
Vaccination is the cornerstone of canine parvovirus prevention. One vaccination is not enough! All dogs and puppies, 6-8 weeks of age and older, should be vaccinated. Vaccination of puppies should start at 4-6 weeks of age in high risk communities, such as the Antelope Valley. Puppies need to be revaccinated every 3-4 weeks until they are 18-20 weeks of age, and then again a year later.
Unvaccinated adult dogs should receive the vaccine twice, 3-4 weeks apart, and then a year later. All dogs then need to be given booster shots every 1-3 years for life. All veterinary practices offer this vaccine.
Lancaster Animal Care Center offers a weekend vaccination clinic
The Los Angeles County Lancaster Animal Care Center, located at 5210 West Avenue I in Lancaster, holds bi-monthly Low Cost Vaccine Clinics, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. DHLPP vaccine, which includes the parvo vaccine, is priced at $14.
Rabies vaccination, deworming, microchip administration and licensing can also be done during these clinics.
Upcoming Low Cost Vaccine Clinics at the Lancaster Center will be held: May 11 & May 25; June 8 & June 22; and July 6 & 20. For future dates, visit www.animalcare.lacounty.gov.
(Information via press release from the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control.)